TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fabric: The Search for the Perfect Piece Transforms Paducah During the AQS Show

Beautiful Batiks from Indonesia, A Favorite Among Quilters

If you are a quilter, you most probably have a stash of fabric that's taking over part of your house and your life. Quilters need a selection to pick from and that elusive perfect color or design ever calls us to adding to our stash, "just in case"... For some, it can actually become a disease, an urge to have and collect more than could ever possibly be used in a lifetime. Most artists struggle with this need to have supplies on hand, "Oh, I will use it someday..." which competes with the reality of storage demands and the ever-present war against clutter.

Rolls of complimenting colors allow a quilter
to have a nice selection without purchasing too much fabric.

At almost $10 a yard in most specialty stores, purchasing fabric can be a serious financial investment. So, a quilter will go glassy eyed when they see fabric on sale. And, when you have a large gathering of quilters such as the AQS Show in Paducah, a whole city will transform itself to try to meet this need and reinvent itself in fabric opportunities. Paducah is known as "Quilt City, USA" and local businesses join in the fun, hoping to attract visiting quilters in for their non-fabric wares.

"How about a coffee and cookie, dear Quilter?"

The show itself is hosted in the Convention Center which is located right on the river, downtown, within walking distance from the Quilt Museum and the downtown businesses. Half of the space at the Convention Center is dedicated to vendors who come with their wares from all over the world. Then, AQS sponsors other sites around town for satellite vendors.

The Finkel's Building downtown on Kentucky Avenue,
normally empty, becomes a satellite space for AQS during the Quilt Show.

Non-AQS businesses and groups also set up vending opportunities. The Rotary Club of Paducah/McCracken County hosts an annual show of antique quilts and also rents vendor spaces.

The guys at the door collect $5 per visitor, money that is used to fund educational and scholarship programs.

Inside, quilters become inspired by the quilts they see.

Inspiration leads to temptation.... "Hmmm.... I think I need some more fabric for my stash..." Vendors are there to supply the need. "What to get? What to get? ..."

Fabric makes the quilting world go around.

And, for those who don't want to go to the trouble of making it, there are plenty of lovely finished quilts available...

Oh, and quilters also need their tools: scissors, thimbles, thread, templates, batting, rulers, glues, special paint sticks, and on and on. Every year there are new inventions that help expand the quilter's universe of possibilities.

Quilting templates, a coveted accessory for some.

Many of these things are not easily accessible in most towns or cities. You can find almost everything online, but that's never the same as seeing something right in front of your face where you can size it and touch it. And, of course, there are all those one of a kind pieces that you will not see on the internet, things that can be incorporated into a quilt, or that you just have to have.

Vintage lace and doilies.

Informal vendors also have wares to sell. The streets are filled with tents and people trying to get in on the action.

When else will Paducah fill up with 30,000 women or more, all with big bags they just might fill?

Charter buses take the quilters to the different points in the city that have vendors or exhibited quilts. Parking, of course, becomes difficult downtown. A couple of fun modes of transport include the trolley or you can go by horse and buggy!

Paducah's trolley.

Horse and buggy, a fun way to see Paducah's downtown.

Others just enjoy being outside and seeing the city come alive. I ran into my friend, Stefanie Graves of Cowango, working on a watercolor down by the gazebo.

Stefanie Graves talking to a visiting quilter.

One of the best things about this invasion of quilters and vendors in Paducah is that most of the people that come are really, really nice. (Note emphasis on Most...) This kind visitor took a photo of Stefanie and me. She modelled Stefanie's hat...

Me with Stefanie Graves.

Well, I had done my rounds and it was time to get back to work. Yep. I'm a vendor, too, hoping like everyone else that some green dollars will make there way into my grubby hands... My niche is a small but special one in the quilting world. I sell ethnic textiles online and in my permanent booth at English's Antiques at 212 Broadway, downtown Paducah.

Rachel Biel Taibi of Rayela Art

You can find the links to my stores on the third column of this blog. Rayela Art has stores on Etsy, eBay and 1,000 Markets. They are a bit depleted right now as I pulled a lot out for the show, but will be restocking soon.

I find it fascinating to see what people do with their hoards of fabric. I have my own stash that keeps growing and am committed to also using it up, making new pieces as time goes on. I always push myself to learn something new, to push the boundaries of what I have seen and translate it into something that becomes mine. Sometimes it works and sometimes it's an "Now what have I done?" experience. I am definitely inspired by cultural textiles, but also by contemporary fiber artists. The possibilites seem limitless...

Today is the last day of the show here in Paducah. Life will resume its normal pace and we will all play with our new fabric and supplies. We are all grateful for those of you who have been here and hope to see you again next year. And, for those of you who have not been to Paducah, do visit us sometime! It's a great community with wonderful galleries and year round, we are

"Quilt City, USA"!!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

212 Broadway is Ready for The AQS Quilt Show in Paducah!

English's Antiques at 212 Broadway in Paducah
makes way for quilters!

Last year, during the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, I rented space from Barry, owner of 212 Broadway's store, English's Antiques. I liked being there so much that I have a permanent space right to the left, as you walk in. Summer was decent, Fall brought the collapse of our economy, local, national and worldwide, and forget doing business in January, February and March. So, as the Dogwood trees start blooming in Paducah, we all anxiously await the annual event of the AQS's Quilt Show in Paducah.

Paducah is a small city in Northwestern Kentucky. The most common statistic that I have heard is that our population is around 26,000 during the night and around 40,000 during the day. People who live in rural areas may work or shop in Paducah during the day and go home for the night. We are also conveniently located almost smack in the middle of a triangle that joins Nashville, Memphis and St. Louis, all major cities under three hours away from Paducah. With two major hospitals, a thriving artist community and other amenities offered in our humble city, this river town has slowly emerged from a depressed state to a stable one. The Quilt Show, an annual event, doubles our population for a few days. Women with big bags come from all around the world for the show, hosted by the American Quilter's Society, and make a few key stops around town, including the downtown strip closest to the Ohio River. Our hope is that they (could it be you?) will also stop in at 212 Broadway, located within a couple of blocks from the Quilt Museum and maybe four blocks from the Show.

Barry, owner of English's Antiques,
takes a stand in front of my booth.

Barry came to Paducah from England for that age-old calling of love for a woman. That woman didn't work out, but he found another woman who did, Diana. An electrician by trade in the Old Country, Barry found his niche in Paducah by importing English antique furniture, gorgeous pieces. He has shoved them to the back to make room for vendors hoping to cater to all these wonderful women (and men!) visiting our fair town.

Barry and Diana discussing something important
about the Quilt Show in Paducah.

I sell ethnic textiles from around the world. Kilims, Suzani, Indian spreads (make great quilt backs!), Ralli quilts, and much more. If you know what these words mean, my booth should call to you in the night! I depleted my online stores and brought my treasures to 212 Broadway, hoping that at least some textile lovers would find me in this ocean of fabric. My niche is a small one, but those who love these textiles are fervent about their calling. I am also a quilter and fiber artist and love incorporating remnants and ethnic fabric into my own work.

But, 212 Broadway also offers much to more mainstream quilters. Several vendors are there, selling their wares. Bob Davis, member of our Paducah Fiber Artists group, is selling his wife's quilting fabric stash. Once Helene Davis jumped into dyeing her own cottons, she never looked back, making her commercial (and huge!) stash obsolete. You can buy it by the pound. (I have a pile accumulating...)

Bob Davis selling Helene's stash to a Japanese customer.

Helene's quilts are also displayed and available for purchase. I can't wait until the day I can finally afford one of her masterpieces!

Diana, Pam and Helene, fondling fabrics and chatting.

Several other vendors also sell fabric, quilt crayons, quilting supplies, and more.

Today was our first day. We had a steady flow and hope that it will conitnue throughout the week. A couple of vendors have offerings that go beyond the quilting circles. Bunja is back with African beads, masks, and textiles.

Bunja selling African beads, masks and textiles at
212 Broadway in Paducah.

Diana especially likes Bunja's masks...

Diana can be scarier than this!
(All with Southern charm, of course!)

Then, there is Bumble Beads, a local jewelry business with a nice selection of affordable necklaces and earrings.

Bumble Beads Jewelry in Paducah, Kentucky.

So, if you are in Paducah for the AQS Quilt Show, do take some time to come and find us. And, if you read this blog, let me know! I would love to put some faces to that cyber world out there. I plan on being at my booth in the afternoons. I want to roam around in the mornings as this event makes of me a tourist, too.

And, for those of you who are not coming, I apologize for the bareness of my online stores. I pulled lots of things out and will replenish after the show. If I sell a lot, you will see lots of new gorgeous textiles. My Etsy store is still pretty full, so go there first. Links are on the right column of this blog. To all of us, may we each enjoy a wonderful week of eye candy, inspiration and good folk!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Paducah Fiber Aritsts: Group Show at HeART of Healing Gallery

Helene, Ulla, and Susan.
Three Paducah Fiber Artists sporting
Susan's dye discharge clothing.

Once a month a bunch of crazy women about fiber (oh, and there's Bob!) get together to eat, be merry, and do a show-and-tell about our latest obsessions with fabric, needle, dye, yarn and color. April is the highlight in Paducah for most of us. The American Quilter's Society hosts one of their shows here and we all go nuts. Thousands of women with big bags (and their very patient husbands) descend on our humble city and give us a much needed boost in our local economy. The red carpets are dusted off, flung out, signs posted, flags hung, and a prayer for good weather is in all our hearts.

Most of us who belong to this eclectic Paducah Fiber Artists group either have a business or do something entrepreneurial during quilt week. My subtle hint:

(How very uncouth!)

But, for the first time in our three-year history, we come together in a group show hosted by HeART of Healing Gallery. Located in the wonderful arty neighborhood of LowerTown, HeART of Healing is a must-stop-destination if you are coming to the Quilt Show. We had our opening reception on April 25th which was very well attended by our good hearted local community. I found it so interesting to see our work up on these walls, together for this time, surrounded by the stories that each of us bring into the materials we use. Not everyone from our group was represented, but enough were, enough to reflect our unique approaches to the medium, so loosely defined as "fiber art", allows us to be. Following are photos of the artists who attended with a short blurb about each. More photos and information can be found on HeART of Healing's page dedicated to the show and in a story I wrote for their new blog.

Dr. Christi Bonds Garret, "Food Hole"

Dr. Christi, owner of HeART of Healing Gallery, is a medical doctor who also practices Chinese medicine. Also passionately interested in cultural textiles, she has loaded the gallery with ethnic fabrics which will surely interest quilters who share this interest: vintage kimono (cut it or wear it!), Hmong pandau squares, more Kuna molas than you can ever hope to see in one place, vintage Indigo Hmong and Japanese kimono indigo fabric, Kuna skirt and scarf fabric, and much more. Dr. Christi's quilts tend to explore her interest in Chinese medicine and symbolism.

Pam Heavrin, "Reminiscing Rhinos"

Pam has been a long-arm quilter for over sixteen years. She takes the often-dreaded finishing step of quilting and transforms someone's dream into functional reality. And, she does it beautifully! Her rhino quilt was one of her own creations, made to honor her husband's rhino collection.

Linda Baxter Lasco, "Tree Skin Canyon"

Linda is pure energy! She knits her way through our meetings and packs tons of information into her alloted time (we are actually on a timer!). Her quilts explore many different techniques, always technically excellent and carefully thought out. I am extremely jealous of one of her skills: she is a coveted auctioneer. I both have stage fright and stumble over my words in public, fogetting even my own name. Not Linda! Linda works full time for AQS and part time for Caryl at Bryer Patch Studio. She will be exhausted by the end of this week.

Judeen Theis, "Quasi Kimono"

Judeen has many interests. Fiber is definitely a biggy, but so is stained glass, painting, and many other mediums. She often brings bags of knitted accessories, soft and fuzzy and full of color. She shows, while we touch and drool. Judeen also spends a lot of time in her garden. Her gallery is wonderfully eclectic and welcoming, also located in LowerTown.

Irene Reising, "Out of the Pit of Hell"

Irene suffered a shoulder injury a couple of years ago that disrupted her life in every way possible. She was unable to pursue her calling as both a nurse and a long-arm quilter. Both were devastating blows and she felt that doors were slamming on her at every turn. In time, new ones opened up and she recovered. This quilt is the story of that journey.

The dye-discharge cult.
Helene, Ulla, and Susan

Susan (in red) doesn't have a piece in the show. She doesn't need to. She has a following, advertising her wares at every turn. Her discharged apparel knocks us out. It really is not fair!
What's not fair? .... I don't know, it just isn't. That's what the abundance of her work does, reduces us to whining, until we finally get one of her pieces and peace ensues.

Helene is next in this story and Ulla didn't submit a piece for the show, although she is also a member of our group. Ulla quilts beautifully!

Helene Davis, "Limbo"

Helene and Bob Davis are next. They are together because they are married, but they are also very separate as individuals. Helene calls her basement the dungeon. That is where she spends gobblezillions of time, dyeing white fabric into treasures. She then transforms the often odd colors and shapes into absolutely drop-dead gorgeous pieces of art. The quilting also captures my attention and is her signature in her most recent pieces. She quilts in straight lines, perhaps less than a 1/4" apart, giving almost a rug-like quality to the piece. And, everything is always immaculately finished. Sigh.... will I ever be that good?

Robert Davis, Reflections I

Bob is our dedicated representative of the male sex! Enthusiastic and precise, he has been exploring many different directions in the last couple of years. His latest discovery is that he has a gift for drawing. Both he and Helene have been taking classes at the Paducah School of Art. He has found his muse!

Bob and Helene will have a booth at 212 Broadway, English's Antiques, (same place where I have my booth) during the quilt show. They will be selling Helene's hand-dyed fabric as well as her commercial stash that she accummulated before she started dyeing (much of which has made it's way into my house..... Aaaaargh!) You can also learn more about them on their website.

Deb Lyons, "Nine Patch and Canvas"

Deb also likes to experiment with texture and unorthodox materials. She has a background in education and continues to have ties with that through the puppets she makes for schools. Deb is another transplant from Chicago, like me. (Actually, there are several of us!)

Charlotte Erwin, "Watermarks Tryptich"

Charlotte is another of our dyers. Her specialty, marbling, has never been a favorite of mine. Never, until I saw her work. It is vibrant yet subtle. Somehow she is able to achieve definition out of the spontaneous brew of shapes and color. Truly beautiful! Charlotte will have workshops on marbling during the quilt show at Working Artist Studio.

Caryl Bryer Fallert, "Reflection #18"

Caryl has won international recognition for her quilts. She was one of the persistant visionaries who pushed quilting into a new form, one which could compete at a serious level with other fine art. Whether craft or art, Caryl's work is defined by precision, color, and impact. Caryl has also won acclaim in the quilt world for her ability as a teacher and guide. I have said that her gift is of helping others translate what they see in their heads into reality. She also has designed several fabric collections, such as those seen in the quilt above, and a line of threads. Her website has both a gallery of her quilts and an online store. For those of you coming to Paducah, you will find BryerPatch Studio loaded with fabric and quilting kits designed by Caryl.

Rachel Biel Taibi, Small Pieces

Finally, I submitted to a photo, too. Aaargh! Well, I guess that if I subject everyone else to the tortured experience, I must undergo it as well.... I have several smaller pieces in the show, explorations in prarie points, my dog food bag purses, and "Honey Island", a yo-yo textile. I like texture and try to explore new techniques or variations of old ones in the little time I have to do my own art. My main focus is developing my online business, Rayela Art, where I sell ethnic textiles. Links to Etsy, eBay, and 1,000 Markets are on the right column of this blog. I have a booth at 212 Broadway here in Paducah and depleted my online stores for the Quilt Show. So, if they look bare, you will know why. Etsy is still pretty full...

Paducah Fiber Artists is made up of a group of people who come from all different walks of life. Some are native to this region while many of us have relocated here from other places. We all find a common language through our interest in that broad category we call fiber art. We support each other, learn from each other, laugh together, and find a shoulder when we need it. This community is a treasure and if you come to Paducah, I hope that you will experience at least a small bit of the gifts that reside here!


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